The new wave of COVID-19 that has hit the UK is worrying all professionals in the Premier League, English football’s elite. In the final five rounds of the competition, 16 matches had to be postponed due to new cases being registered within the clubs. Although safety measures are in place, the numbers keep rising and further delays cannot be ruled out.
This Wednesday (29), Arsenal confirmed that coach Mikel Arteta has another test positive for the disease. Thus, the professionals will no longer lead the team in the next round, when the Gunners host Manchester City, starting the 21st round of the national competition on 1 January. Other clubs like Manchester United and Tottenham have already gone through major outbreaks and need to take tough measures.
For example, United was forced to close its training center for 48 hours, with the facility subjected to a strict cleaning and disinfection process. At Tottenham, cases involved some key players on Antonio Conte’s roster and the team had to postpone two games in the Premier League.
A meeting took place between the top leadership of the Premier League and representatives of the 20 clubs participating in the competition. On the agenda was the possibility of postponing the competition until the disease numbers declined. Despite this, by mutual consent, the clubs chose the order of the tournament, although new measures were prescribed.
In order to keep the games, the clubs involved in the match must have at least 13 players available in addition to the goalkeeper. If this problem is possible, it will be enough to avoid postponing the game. Thus, the Premier League hopes that it will not experience new problems and will try to keep the rounds complete.
Liverpool coach Jurgen Klopp also requested permission for five changes. The German coach’s speech was reinforced by the words of Pep Guardiola, Manchester City. However, so far the Premier League has not expressed itself in this regard and a return to the five-change rule is not expected.
In addition to confirming Mikel Arteta’s positive test at Arsenal, Newcastle also announced that it is experiencing a new outbreak. The club’s players will travel to Liverpool, where they will take on Everton this Wednesday (29), but could not travel due to the high number of cases. Matches between teams thus increased the number of games postponed in the current Premier League round.